0.00 Morgan Freeman arrives on stage to do a little introduction. Good
choice. There isn't a human alive who dislikes Morgan Freeman.
0.01 Wait. Morgan Freeman has earrings? Two of them? We just found something unlikeable about him. Finally!
0.01 Billy Crystal spoofs
The Artist, The Descendants, Moneyball,
Midnight in Paris, The Help, Bridesmaids, Mission Impossible: Ghost
Protocol, Hugo, and The Adventures of Tintin. We like the part where he begs George Clooney
to call him Batman. We don't like the part where Justin Bieber
gratuitously shows up (though we do still enjoy how much he resembles a
0.06 Billy tells us it's his ninth time hosting the Oscars. He owes Anne Hathaway and James Franco a call for this year. He never would've got it without their sloppy assistance.
0.07 "Nothing can take the sting out of the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues." Nice one, Crystal. Someone had to say it.
0.08 Crystal singles out Jonah Hill and makes a fat joke. Totally unnecessary, Crystal. Are we really still laughing at the (ex) fat kid at this point? It's like high school, only with millions of people watching.
0.11 Tom Hanks arrives to present the award for Achievement in Cinematography to Robert Richardson for Hugo. We think Richardson should get a bonus award for Best Gandalf Hair at the Oscars, 2012.
0.14 Hanks stays to give Achievement in Art Direction. Hugo wins again. We can see how this evening is going to go...
0.21 Time-filling montage commences featuring clips of Forrest Gump, Titanic, Twilight, Legends of the Fall, the Princess Bride, bloody Avatar, Ghost, Jaws, Indiana Jones and... sod it, we don't understand what the point of this is, so we're not listing the rest of 'em.
0.23 Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez (who is wearing a gigantic shiny fan for a dress, plus a lot of cleavage) arrive to present Costume Design. Mark Bridges gets it for The Artist.
0.26 The Achievement in Make-Up award has to go to whoever made Glenn Close look like a man in Albert Nobbs, right?
0.28 Nope. The dudes who turned Meryl Streep into Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady win. We can't be mad about that. Imagine having to turn someone else into that woman every day. Eugh. One was bad enough. They probably deserve medals as well.
0.29 Various stars talk about the first movies they ever saw. Brad Pitt is more charming than any other human on earth: fact.
0.35 Sandra Bullock is sporting what the British humorously refer to as a "Croydon Facelift". That's when your ponytail is so tight, it pulls your entire face up into a weird taut position. Then she speaks Chinese! In a German accent! Gosh, she's international.
0.37 The Foreign Language award goes to A Separation from Iran. Asghar Farhadi speaks up for the little people in Iran who "respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment." Fox News is going to freak out about this tomorrow.
0.42 Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for The Help. She's in such a state of shock, she has to be helped up the stairs to the stage. She gets a standing ovation, fights back tears, and still manages to be funny. Could she be any more adorable? No. No, she couldn't.
0.49 Skit purporting to be footage from a focus group for The Wizard of Oz starts, featuring more than one person from American Pie. It's actually pretty funny.
0.52 Tina Fey (funny, as always) and Bradley Cooper and Bradley Cooper's mustache arrive to present Achievement in Film Editing. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wins. Then Sound Editing goes to Hugo. As does Sound Mixing.
1.04 Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy present a Cirque du Soleil interpretation of what it's like to go to the movies. Obviously, there isn't a person on earth who doesn't enjoy acrobats, but does anyone else think shoving this into the middle of an award ceremony is kind of weird?
1:09 Billy Crystal makes the weirdness okay: "Now it's a party. We've got puppets, acrobats... We're one pony away from being a Bar Mitzvah." Also, we failed to mention that all those bendy, flying people are mind-blowing.
1:10 Robert Downey Jr delays his entrance on stage by Tebo-ing. Everybody's doing it these days.
1:13 He and Gwyneth Paltrow present Best Documentary to Undefeated. One of the film-makers clearly curses because we hear nothing that he says for at least three seconds.
Ironic that Chris Rock is immediately introduced.
1:17 Rango wins Best Animated Feature. We're ready for the exciting awards now.
1:21 Melissa McCarthy tries to seduce Billy Crystal in his dressing room. It's cute. But not as cute as Emma Stone presenting Visual Effects with Ben Stiller. Her amusing attempt to get Jonah Hill onstage to dance with her takes the pomp out of proceedings for a moment -- even if it is super-staged.
1:26 Hugo wins. Huge surprise. <---- Sarcasm.
1:29 Milla Jovovich is clearly visible sitting behind Kenneth Branagh. Did Resident Evil get nominated for something this year?
1:30 Melissa Leo presents Best Supporting Actor to Christopher Plummer for The Beginners. He's the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar! He's 82! He addresses his statue with "You're only two years older than me, darling! Where have you been all my life?" and offers the most gracious speech of the evening. How wonderful.
1:38 Billy Crystal analyzes the faces of the nominees. We'd laugh but Nick Nolte looks so much like Santa, we can't focus.
1:41 Has anyone else ever noticed how Meryl Streep's face has a permanent look of serenity. What's her secret? We bet she does yoga...
1:43 Penelope Cruz (in one of the most gorgeous dresses we've ever seen) and Owen Wilson (sounding remarkably bored) arrive to present Best Original Score. The Artist wins. (We preferred Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but meh, whaddaya gonna do?)
1:46 Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis arrive in white suits, smashing cymbals together, to present Best Original Song. There are two nominees, and we hear neither. It's a freakin' joke. If you're going to screw up the music portion this badly, Academy, maybe you shouldn't include it at all.
1:48 The Muppets song wins. Our anger immediately subsides when we realize that Bret from Flight of the Conchords wrote it and now he's got a shiny statue. We've always wanted him to have at least one shiny statue, so this is a pleasing moment after all.
1:57 Angelina Jolie, looking impossibly beautiful and a bit smug (we can't blame her, really) presents Adapted Screenplay award to The Descendants. We kind of miss that she doesn't carry other people's blood around with her though... Then the dean from Community makes fun of her, pissing off Alexander Payne, and, wait, the dean from Community has an Oscar?
1:59 Original Screenplay goes to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. He hasn't bothered to show up. Tsk, Woody, tsk.
2:00 Another montage of stars explaining what movies they love and why. Reese Witherspoon sings the praises of Goldie Hawn classic, Overboard (we cheer), then Sacha Baron Cohen says "I always think I want to make something that I myself would want to watch. And I just happen to want to watch some really sick stuff." And God bless you for that, sir.
2:06 The Academy makes use of Milla Jovovich (because, you know, Resident Evil isn't nominated for anything). She's presenting some sort of complicated technical award that we don't really understand. Still, we're sure it's important.
2:08 The cast of Bridesmaids arrives. This better be funnier than the usually hilarious, but somehow flat tonight, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.
2:08 Maya Rudolph and Kristin Wiig makes penis jokes! Hurrah for lowering the tone! Then they present the award for Best Short Film to the Northern Irish father/daughter team behind The Shore.
2:10 Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne play a Scorsese-related drinking game on stage. Scorcese is suitably amused. Saving Face wins for Documentary Feature. Sandra Bullock sheds a tear. Probably for the subject-matter of the film, not the Scorsese drinking game.
2:15 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore wins Animated Short Film. The winners describe themselves as "swamp rats from Louisiana". Which is nice.
2:20 Spooky music accompanies Michael Douglas' entrance on stage. We agree.
2:21 Michael Douglas requires a haircut. Just sayin'...
2:22 The award for Directing goes to the guy with the really hard-to-pronounce last name for The Artist. He thanks the dog. Which is nice. Acting dogs don't get enough credit. If it was up to us, they'd have a category (but we'd probably give the first one to the pooch from Frasier, which probably shouldn't count...)
2:25 Meryl Streep pops on some glasses and still looks effortlessly serene. A montage starts for the Honorary Oscars. James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey, and Dick Smith each win one. Everyone cries and gives them a standing ovation. Oprah WInfrey's chances of winning an Oscar go up the years she doesn't make a movie.
2:33 Uh-oh. The In Memoriam section, a.k.a. the bum-out portion, starts. Farewell Jane Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Ken Russell, Peter Falk, Sidney Lumet, Sue Mengers, Steve Jobs, Hal Kanter, Jackie Cooper, Whitney Houston, and too many other talented lovelies to mention. Life (or, at the very least, death) sucks.
2:40 Another montage from actors. We like these! We could do a whole three hours of these! Ed Norton, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Patton Oswalt all contribute. We could listen to them talk all day. <---- Not sarcasm.
2:42 "I've never had any of those feelings," Billy Crystal says in reference to all the deep crap we've just listened to from The Actors. He's funny.
2:43 Natalie Portman arrives in red to present Actor in a Leading Role. Gosh, she's charming.
2:48 Jean Dujardin wins. He shouts "formidable" and "merci beaucoup". France is totally having a huge party right now.
2:54 Colin Firth
arrives to present Actress in a Leading Role. He's terribly British you know.
2:57 Firth says: "Meryl. Mamma Mia! We danced. It was Greece.
We were happy." Aw!
2:59 Meryl Streep wins and looks genuinely surprised. So does Glenn Close. No wonder Streep's surprised. It's her seventeenth nomination and she's only won twice before. We kind of wanted the effortlessly gorgeous Viola Davis to win, but this is okay too. Michelle Williams fights tears during the speech. Because she is that gracious.
3:02 Tom Cruise arrives to present Best Picture. All we can think about is how much Scientology annoys us. But, whatever.
3:05 The Artist wins. We're bummed about The Help not getting it, but whatever. There's a dog onstage. We like that too.
3:06 It's over. That was pretty cool.
--Follow Rae Alexandra on Twitter at @raemondjjjj, SF Weeky's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.